How to tell if a dog is purebred is a question we’re seeing often. It’s not just something pet parents are asking one another, it’s also become a regular feature in the news, on dog forums and across social media.
And it’s no wonder there’s so much hype around the topic – people are paying thousands of dollars for their prized puppy.
Pedigreed dog breeding is, of course, an industry. And with it, there are several administrative and financial implications. Not to mention health implications for some pups. And sadly, there’s also the major consideration of puppy scams (more on that in a minute).
This is the second article in a two part series on how to prove your dog is purebred in New Zealand. Here’s a quick recap of what we touched on in the first article…
Three ways to tell if your dog is purebred
As mentioned in part one ‘How to prove your dog is purebred’, there are three primary ways to tell. To be sure, you may want to go down the avenue of cross-referencing all three.
In our first article, we looked at the first of these three points: Breed Standards. In this second article, we’re going to look at points two and three:
- Compare your dog with the official breed standards
- Check their pedigree papers
- Do a dog DNA test
Now, before we look at pedigreed papers, did you know that purebred and pedigree aren’t the same thing? Here’s the difference…
Purebred vs pedigree
It might interest you to know not every purebred dog is a pedigree dog. Quite simply, purebred refers to a dog’s bloodline, while pedigree refers to the recorded history of a dog’s bloodline with a recognised breed registry.
We’ll talk about breed registries more in a minute, but first…
If a Labrador has one great grandmother who was a Golden Retriever, a breeding register won’t accept them as purebred. But you or I might do, so it’s important to ask yourself what your idea of purebred is… Because if you’re after a particular dog with the right breed markers, for example a Border Collie, you may just find them at a dog shelter.
And while we’re on the topic, read about purebred dog pros and cons.
Purebred dog rescues
This is something valuable to consider because PD Insurance has spoken to shelters like HUHA who often have purebred dogs and puppies up for adoption. While it’s possible to get a purebred rescue dog, you won’t know for certain because it’s unlikely a shelter will have a great deal of history on an animal.
While these dogs won’t have pedigree papers, they could fill your heart and home more than you could ever hope. So, it may be worthwhile considering adopting a dog (here’s your dog adoption checklist).
Now, if you’re after a purebred with a pedigree, then your first big step is to find a breeder from New Zealand’s official kennel club.
New Zealand Kennel Club
If you want to guarantee you’re buying a purebred, one good avenue to walk down is finding a breeder who’s a member of the national kennel club. Kennel clubs are the custodians of the pedigree dog or cat databases in their region or country.
Dogs New Zealand (Dogs NZ) – what used to be called the New Zealand Kennel Club – was established in 1886 as a registrar of every purebred dog with a pedigree on our shores.
Dogs NZ is a great platform to help discerning buyers along their journey to finding a pedigree dog. It also opens a whole new world because it has over 300 affiliate societies. You’ll be able to discover and maybe even join the well-regarded agility, obedience and show clubs in New Zealand.
Dogs NZ resources
Before you venture into being a first time pet owner, do some research about the purebred pedigreed dogs in New Zealand.
Here’s a list of resources from our very own local kennel club:
- Breed Selector: Research different breeds to discover their needs and traits
- Club listing: Locate the affiliate club that’s near you, or has the breed you’re interested in
- Breeders: Find a breeder using the breed listing, and choosing the breed you’re interested in
- Litters: Amazing, right! This allows you to see when there are litters of pedigreed puppies at any given time.
As much as some people debate the fact, different breeds are often prone to various genetic health conditions, like hip dysplasia:
So, you might also want to ask an accredited breeder for the results of these health tests with regards to the puppy’s parents.
Of course, that’s not the be-all and end-all step to finding an ethical, trustworthy breeder with guaranteed purebred dogs. There are other steps to take…
No one place is a one stop shop in your journey of seeking out a purebred dog. We suggest researching via these avenues too, before following our puppy buying step-by-step checklist further on:
- Puppy scams in NZ
- NZ French Bulldogs, Labrador Lovers NZ and NZ Huntaway Club
- Google search the name of each business you’re considering buying a purebred dog from and thoroughly check out their website, social channels, etc
- Also search for reviews from people who’ve bought dogs from these sources
- Ask the breeder/s for references from a handful of buyers they’ve sold puppies to previously
- Contact the breeder’s vet to confirm all the details for the puppy are accurate and up-to-date
Purebred dog papers
So, you’ve done your homework on the breed you love and where they’ve come from. You’ve found a litter of pedigreed puppies ready to be homed… Exciting! What’s next?
Which authority provides purebred dog papers?
In NZ, purebred dog papers are provided by Dogs NZ. If you’ve found the breeder via this organisation then you know they’re a member.
If they’re not a member be extra cautious of their breeding practices and intentions as a seller. As tempting as it is to jump straight in, you need to take the right steps towards making an informed purchase.
Puppy buying checklist
You want to make sure you’re avoiding puppy mills and are buying from an ethical breeder who’s committed to producing safe, healthy, happy puppies with a high quality breeding line. Right?
Read our article on buying a puppy safely in New Zealand, then follow this brief step-by-step checklist for a much better chance at achieving this:
- First, ask to see a photo of your potential puppy’s Dogs NZ purebred dog papers. This will show their pedigree.
- Then, ask to visit the breeder’s location more than once before buying – to see the puppy and at least one pup parent. If possible, do so at different times of the day. Pay attention to their living conditions, such as the state of their kennelling and food bowls, plus other dogs who live there. Are they safe and clean? Look closely at the behaviour and health of puppy and parent.
- Take note if the seller asks you questions to ensure the puppy is going to a good home. A seller who’s invested in the pup’s long term wellbeing is much more likely to be breeding for the love of it as well as the financial benefit. Which means they’re less likely to be an unethical breeder or scammer.
- Don’t buy a puppy younger than eight weeks old. Puppies shouldn’t leave their mum and littermates until at least this age – both teach pup lessons they’ll need throughout life.
- Safeguard your purchase with a contract (you could use the Dogs NZ template contract).
- Get a copy of your new puppy’s papers at the time of purchase. These shouldn’t cost anything over and above the price of the puppy.
Should a purebred dog come with papers?
Yes, if a dog is a purebred and you’ve sourced it from a professional breeder then it should have papers proving this fact.
As our above-mentioned puppy scams article advises, be sure to always collect your puppy in person. Never mail-order a puppy because the likelihood of you unwittingly taking part in a scam is almost a guarantee.
Remember: do your absolute best to meet the puppy and at least one of its parents in person before you commit any money. When you do so, ask to see the papers (again) then, before paying up.
Dog DNA tests
Another way to potentially prove your dog is purebred is a dog DNA test. You can buy these from the Christchurch Bull Breed Rescue, Easy DNA and Home DNA Direct, among others. These are becoming more widespread as the science grows.
However, they’re mainly for interest purposes as the industry is still new and unregulated. Which means that there are no guarantees about the outcomes.
Still, if you’ve had your ‘purebred’ dog for a while and their provenance has always interested you, the dog DNA test can be a super exciting thing to do. Much like a human ancestry DNA test.
Plus, some of the tests offer a comprehensive report which tells you about your dog’s health needs and related action plans. Some tests also include an option to meet your dog’s immediate relatives if they’re on the database.
Purebred dog insurance
Buying a pedigreed pup is a big investment, emotionally and financially. Dog insurance doesn’t need to be. With PD insurance, you get puppy insurance free for the first eight weeks if they’re between six and 30 weeks old. Is your pup older? As a new PD Insurance customer we’ll give you one month free if you buy your pet insurance with us online.
Knowing your dog’s needs helps you decide whether to add the Wellness package to our Classic or Deluxe plans for benefits like vaccinations and microchipping. The Deluxe plan includes dental cover too, which can be very useful for a pedigreed pup – or any, for that matter.
How to tell if a dog is purebred – over to you
As fellow dog lovers, we’d love to hear your (furry) tail about finding your purebred pup. Or even a story about how you adopted from a shelter instead. Either way, owning a dog is a great adventure. Share yours in the comments below: